Liam Kearns: Tipperary are comfortable mixing with football’s elite

Tipperary manager Liam Kearns feels Mayo will have to improve if they’re to end their long All-Ireland famine.

The westerners closed out yesterday’s All-Ireland semi-final but Kearns feels they may have passed their peak, though he said he’d “love to see” Mayo win an All-Ireland.

“They’re trying to win an All-Ireland, they’re going to have to improve. Dublin or Kerry will be a fair test for them in the final.

“I give them a lot of credit insofar as they’re adapting their game and changing tactics from game to game, and during games. That might have been a criticism of them in previous years.

"Their panel and play might have been stronger two years ago - I saw them the year they drew with Kerry and were beaten in a replay in Limerick, and I thought they were at their peak then.

"I don’t know if they’re at their peak now but they’re in a final. They have another shot and they’re getting a lot of breaks now, so maybe their name is on the cup this time.

“I hope it is. I’d love to see Mayo win an All-Ireland. I’m a Kerryman and maybe Kerry will be in the All-Ireland, but I’d love to see Mayo win an All-Ireland.

“But sentiment doesn’t come into it. It didn’t come into it today and it won’t come into it in four weeks’ time.”

Kearns feels Tipperary can match this year’s heroics, but only if the setup within the county is right.

“You’d have to sit down with the football board, the county board and discuss it. There’s loads of things I could say here but it’s not the forum for it.

“You have to look to the future. If you prepare properly, the 15 players who played today are capable of coming back here, certainly.”

But Kearns also feels Tipp could strengthen the squad over the winter.

“Yeah, I would think so. There’s no reason we shouldn’t. I’d hope this run will galvanise the players in the county, and the supporters, to get behind the football team.

"There’s no reason the county can’t compete in both - we’ve shown it this year, we’ve reached the football semi-final and the hurlers are in an All-Ireland final. So why not?”

Kearns said Tipp had found it “more comfortable” playing Division 1 teams all year: “We found it easier to play Division 1 teams. We found that we were more comfortable playing the Division 1 teams and we were able to play more football. We’d have no problem playing Division 1 teams every day.

“We played Cork, we played Kerry, we played Derry who were Division 1 before that, we played Galway who were Connacht champions and close to Division 1 this year, and then we’re just after playing Mayo. We didn’t feel inferior to any of them and we put it up to all of them.

“It was the breaks. If Robbie Kiely stays on the field and all our injuries were okay, and there’s no red card, I think we’d have no problem competing and bringing it all the way down to the wire.

“But at the end of the day Mayo have won the game. I’ll leave it up to other people to judge the gulf because they’re Division 1 and we’re Division 3 but I personally don’t think that was the case.”


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